In this article, I’ll be discussing perfectionism with a special guest; Ameera Kane, another blogger who feels that this topic is incredibly important for young writers to hear! Read on to get some tips, tricks, and writing exercises for beating that perfectionist outlook.
As for myself…. Am I a perfectionist? A little bit. I do, however, know that it was a serious problem when I first got to high school. I clearly remember getting my first C in Spanish class and then writing an angsty poem about it later, complete with a mental breakdown over this small and insignificant quiz. In my writing life, I absolutely hated sharing my work with anyone because in my eyes, the flaws outweighed the good parts. But, it’s been a few years since ninth grade, so you might ask: how did I get over it?
If I’m honest, I still struggle with looking at my work without that same harshness. I still struggle with my own imperfections on a daily basis. The greatest advice I can truly give you, though, is simply to take it one day at a time. Train yourself to be okay with the bad, the good, and the ugly, because life is meant to be messy.
Now, to offer you another perspective, I present to you: Ameera Kane!
Can you introduce yourself for us?
“Hi! I’m Ameera Kane and I’m a 15 year old writer with a new upcoming book. I have a writing blog that I started earlier in July. The reason I started it was because I wanted to create an empowering community of young aspiring writers like me, who felt like they weren’t getting the answers to their questions or the opportunities to better grow as a writer. My favorite genres to write in are definitely fantasy and mystery. I always have a blast writing in those specific genres. As for my hobbies, besides writing, I’m a dancer, I love to watch Netflix all day long, and of course I adore reading.”
How do you define perfectionism in writers? What types of behavior do they exhibit?
“I actually wrote a blog post about this. If I were to define perfectionism in writers, I would say it’s the obsessive need to make everything about your book beyond perfect, to the point where nothing is ever good enough for the writer. I identify perfectionism by looking for three things: if the writer literally can’t stop editing and moving on to the next thing, if the writer has a deep profound fear of their book going public instead of excitement, and lastly, automatically feeling like a failure when they can’t be perfect. All of these things show me that the writer can’t be satisfied, and they ultimately feel like their work isn’t good enough for them.”
Do you struggle with being a perfectionist? How do you combat this personally? Some people do say that perfectionism is good because it forces your writing to grow and improve; do you agree or disagree?
“That’s a very complicated answer because I myself am a perfectionist in general. I can definitely say being a perfectionist pushed me harder to go for the extra mile but in terms of writing, I would have to disagree. Perfectionist writers unknowingly take the fun and love they have out of writing because they’re never content with their writing. Perfectionism may push you to write your best, but in the end, it’s the very thing holding you back from actually finishing your book and publishing. In your effort to make your book so perfect, you end up never finishing it, which I think a lot of people don’t realize.”
What advice would you give to writers who are struggling with the same thing?
“I would tell young writers who are struggling with this to get in the habit of saying, ‘it’s good enough for ME.’ This is why writers need to be in a healthy community because when we write alone, these things tend to happen. I would advise them to step away from the book and focus on themselves. Why? Because typically when a writer is a hard core perfectionist, it’s usually stemming from their personal selves.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“If you are struggling with anything writing related, believe in yourself and your talent! For more advice and tips, you can head over to my site http://writingbootcamp.org/ !
Also, my upcoming book is titled The One You Truly Fear and it’s about a girl who moves to a new town with her parents for a fresh start after her dad’s affair and finds this magical mirror which transports her to different possible versions of her life. What she doesn’t expect is that all of those different versions of her are actually plotting to destroy her, so stay tuned for that!”
Thank you so much for joining me, Ameera! Your insight was very much appreciated and I hope that this was an enjoyable experience for you. It certainly was for me!
Also, visit Ameera’s website to see my own interview featured there!
WRITING CHALLENGE: Write for 15-20 minutes without stopping. Don’t let your pen or pencil leave the paper/ don’t let your fingers stop typing. Most importantly, do not edit after you’re done! This is an exercise to block that perfectionist way of thinking for at least a little bit. When you’re done, tuck the paper/laptop away and go do something else! Repeat this challenge every day or every other day for the best results.
“Here’s the uncomfortable truth about perfection: it’s often just insecurity in disguise.”Gary Vaynerchuk